I bought Advance 2997 some time ago. It features in “You Have the Goods on Him,” a 1940′s Make Do and Mend-type leaflet on making women’s suits from men’s. I’m fond of 1940′s “utility chic”- it’s generally pretty thrifty, wearable and often features severe lines and interesting details.
Since buying the pattern, I’ve kept my eyes peeled for a suitable men’s suit to chop up. I don’t know how this project will pan out. It’s an experiment. I don’t want to try this experiment on a suit I like without first trying it on a crappy suit. By the same token, I want to start with a decent enough suit that I can wear the finished garment if I like it.
Behold- a navy and gray single-breasted pinstripe suit found today in an op-shop and purchased for the princely sum of $5. It’s 45% polyester and 55% wool. The fabric feels hard to the touch, as I would expect from a decent men’s suit. It is in perfect condition. Notice the front opening- it’s slanted.
I think it was made fit to a rather short, broad shouldered man with a belly. The trousers are an almost perfect length for me in kitten heels- I didn’t discover that until I got home. The slanting front opening on the jacket helps camouflage a belly, fooling the eye into seeing a straight line over a curved stomach, and allowing for easier mobility. It’s the sign of a clever fitter.
Speaking of pockets, this jacket has more pockets than any other I’ve ever worked with or made. (The photo is discolored, but the garment is not.) I keep finding pockets inside of pockets on this jacket- I do that in my own jackets. For now, the count stands at 8 pockets in the jacket and 5 in the trousers.
The maker included a double layered gusset to re-inforce the underarm area. When I unpick the jacket I plan to reverse engineer this gusset and use it in future jackets. The underarm lining seam in a jacket is often the first seam to wear out, long before the rest of the suit is dead.
The vent, the CF opening and all hems are well interfaced, with just the right amount of body. The trousers feature slanting side pockets and a neat little coin pocket. I will decide later whether to cut up the pants (which fit frighteningly well) or keep them.
Not bad for $5. This will be a long-range project I work on steadily, but in small chunks. I’d like to post an update on progress each week but I don’t want this project to take over my life either. First I should prepare the suit the way the leaflet suggests. Then I’ll muslin the pattern for fit and proportion. Once I marry the suit to the pattern and figure out which design details to keep and which to jettison, the sewing should go smoothly. Should. We’ll see. I’ll be documenting what I do along the way.
If you haven’t already, do check out the Merino Fabric and Kimono Wrap Top Pattern Giveaway. It closes after dinner at my house on Saturday.
Thanks for all your kind words about the “I Choo Choo Choose You” t-shirt. He wears it constantly!